How good is Apple’s new iPhone 13? Better, but not by much
It’s a story that now happens pretty much every September: Apple introduced new iPhones with slightly bigger screens, faster speeds, and better cameras, but no major new advancements.
In a pre-recorded infomercial, Apple executives touted the new iPhone 13’s improvements as significant innovations, but they translate into a device that looks and performs a lot like the iPhones Apple introduced last year.
Apple said the new iPhones have brighter screens, longer battery life, and more powerful cameras and computer processors. Having already pushed the screen almost to the edge of the device, Apple has increased its size slightly by reducing the small notch at the top of the screen. Apple has kept the same flat-rimmed design of the phone that it has used in other recent models.
Apple hopes that by adding new features and making slight design improvements, customers will continue to shell out more money. It is a strategy that has worked for a long time. The iPhone, now in its 14th year, remains one of the world’s best-selling products and the centerpiece of Apple’s business. In the first half of the year, the latest available period, Apple said iPhone sales increased 58% to $ 87.5 billion from the same period a year earlier.
This success is due in part to the fact that Apple has built up an extremely loyal following, but also because it has designed its products in such a way that it is difficult for customers to move up to the competition, such as Samsung. and Google. The iPhone also remains among the best smartphones on the market in several areas, including camera technology and screen resolution.
Apple has spent much of its advertising showcasing the iPhone’s new “cinematic mode,” camera technology that can automatically track and focus on a subject, resulting in videos that look more like professional movies.
Apple’s emphasis on advanced camera technology in its iPhones is a reflection of its significant investment in artificial intelligence to compete with Google.
A few years ago, Google’s Pixel smartphones used the search giant’s prowess in artificial intelligence to surpass the capabilities of the iPhone’s camera. But in recent years, Apple has taken several aggressive steps to catch up, acquiring several AI startups and hiring Google AI executive John Giannandrea. Partly because of this, its new iPhone cameras received higher ratings than the Pixel.
As in previous years, Apple unveiled two separate versions of the new iPhone: the entry-level iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini, and the more expensive and advanced iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max. Apple has largely kept prices at the same level as last year’s models.
The dominance of the iPhone has also caused Apple to come under more scrutiny and criticism from app developers, regulators and lawmakers. Having an iPhone app has become a necessity for many businesses, which has allowed Apple to build a huge business by charging up to 30% commission on certain app sales.
But this practice has been at the center of legal and regulatory challenges in recent years. Last week, a federal judge ordered Apple to let app developers direct customers to other payment methods in their apps, which could allow them to avoid Apple’s commission. Regulators in the United States, Europe and India are also investigating the practices of the Apple App Store.
Brian X Chen contributed reports.